Pond at Merrill Park needs an upgrade for fishing derby to continue

  • Volunteers are hoping the city of Concord will repair a dam on a small pond at Merrill Park that was damaged by a 2006 flood.

  • Merrill Park Pond in East Concord is also known as Duck Pond. David Brooks photos / Monitor staff

Monitor staff
Published: 8/12/2022 1:17:21 PM

Volunteers are hoping the city of Concord will repair a dam on a small pond at Merrill Park that was damaged by a 2006 flood, making it easier to continue a decades-long tradition of kids fishing for stocked trout.

“For over a decade our members have placed sandbags in the new outflow, temporarily raising the water level to the point where the pond could support fish, and using hand tools, have cleared part of the pond’s periphery, along with the inlet area, of silt and vegetation allowing easier access to open water for the kids. The efforts of our members, while commendable, are simply not sustainable,” is how members of the Basil Woods Jr. Chapter of Trout Unlimited put it in a letter to the city.

Staff of the Parks and Recreation Department will prepare a report on what the city might be able to do, including costs, for future review by the City Council.

Merrill Park Pond, also called Duck Pond, is on the north side of Merrill Park in East Concord. It was deepened years ago by an earthen dam holding back Mill Brook that created a one-acre pond used for ice skating in the winter as well as the annual Youth Fishing Derby, which is overseen by the local Trout Unlimited chapter for people under aged 15. Last year’s derby drew roughly 150 people.

The dam was breached during the Mothers Day flood of 2006, when a foot of rain fell over several days and caused extensive damage throughout the state.

“Since then, the pond only fills up during times of heavy rain or during the spring during snowmelt and only holds water for a few days,” wrote Parks and Recreation Director David Gill in a memo to the City Council.

Water enters the pond through an inlet on the western side, flowing out on the eastern end. The inlet is “showing signs of failure,” Gill wrote.

If the council approves the idea, Gill said the city would have to hire a firm “to help us review and understand the full scope of what is needed, with members of the local Trout Unlimited chapter to help review options.

David Brooks bio photo

David Brooks is a reporter and the writer of the sci/tech column Granite Geek and blog granitegeek.org, as well as moderator of Science Cafe Concord events. After obtaining a bachelor’s degree in mathematics he became a newspaperman, working in Virginia and Tennessee before spending 28 years at the Nashua Telegraph . He joined the Monitor in 2015.

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